Chocolate Nirvana and Bread Baking

Last night, Lynn and I met up at Truffles and Tortes in downtown Anoka to have some desert and catch up on things. I had the scrumptious Chocolate Nirvana and coffee. 

Chocolate Nirvana

While Lynn had a Chocolate Torte and tea.

Lynn at Truffles and Tortes

Lynn brought her art journal to show me the artwork she made in a class at Valley Ridge Art Center in Boscobel Wisconsin last weekend. You can read about the class and see one of the pieces of art Lynn made on Lynn’s blog. I’m not sure I understood the whole technique they used but I loved how Lynn’s pieces turned out. It’d be fun to take a weekend class like that.
H came over this afternoon and showed me how to get the bucket onto the tractor. The notes I wrote down go something like this: 
  1. Drive tractor up to bucket until brackets align with shaft.
  2. Hook up hydraulic lines. Try not to tear thumbnail painfully down to the quick (as I did in my practice run).
  3. Raise, lower, back up, pull forward, jiggle around until the bracket is laying on the shaft.
  4. Lower the bucket until the front plate sets against the front of the tractor.
  5. Then lock the plate in place.

H also took me on a practice run with the horse trailer to the nearby park that has horse trails. I had to get the feel of how wide to make my turns and when to start them, how to use the side mirrors to see where the trailer tires were and if anyone was behind me, and how to back up. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be to get out and back in the driveway. I guess the part I’m really not certain about is how the horse I take is going to behave alone with me out on a trail. Guess there’s only one way to find out. I’ll definitely be wearing a helmet.

Java was a total goof ball today. I so wish I would have had my camera handy to catch her antics. She followed H and I around as we checked fences, another lesson for me. 
All that running in the pasture made Java thirsty so she headed to the swimming pool for a drink. She’d sit her butt on the pool steps while her front paws treaded water and then she’d drink. 
She ended up swimming out a ways, but Java doesn’t have a nice, smooth dog paddle. She’s tall enough that she can reach the bottom of the pool in the shallow end with her back legs and walk while she frantically raises her paws way above the water and slaps her way around the pool. Very comical. 
Funnier yet, she’d run out of the pool, across the decorative rock, out the gate, around the yard, and then circle and head back into the pool for another drink. She repeated this crazy tearing around about three times. I got worried that the way she was running full bore across the cement, rocks, and stairways, doing big leaps from level to level that she was going to break a leg, so I put a stop to her fun. She slept very soundly after that.
Sue and I didn’t get out kayaking because it was pretty chilly out. We’re going to try again next weekend. I’m hoping for warmer weather and NO WIND! I really don’t want to take a dip in the river.
Today, I’m still so tired. I went to church and grocery shopping, and after I got home, I decided to finally try out the bread making technique in the book “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day”. Of course it’s not really five minutes a day if you ask me.
I made the bread dough first – just water, salt, yeast, and white flour. I’m starting out with the most basic recipe. I had hard time telling how well the dough was mixed – you’re not supposed to knead it – and whether it was wet enough. You let the dough rise at room temperature for at least two hours. So during that time, I took Java on a walk at the Rum River. It’s greened up quite a bit.

Java at Rum River

Java had a good time splashing around in the river and jumping out again.

Java in river
Java jumping out of river

The ferns are up and going into full uncurl.

When we got back home, I checked the dough and wasn’t sure if it was fully risen yet or not. It’s supposed to rise then fall back a little. I left the dough for a couple more hours, until it couldn’t rise any farther in the bowl it was in. So now the dough is in the frig and should be bakeable by 9:30 PM. Not sure if I’ll try and start a loaf then or just wait until tomorrow morning. 

Bread Dough

If I’m up by 3:00 or 4:00 AM like usual, I should have plenty of time to bake bread.

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  1. Java was having so much fun!
    I get nervous when I have to drive the horse trailer on long trips. If I just have to drive to the trailhead, which is only about 8 minutes away, I am fine. I can back the trailer up pretty good now. I just take my time, and if someone has to wait out on the road while I back it into the driveway, so be it. Keep on practicing!
    Let us know how your bread turns out! I have always wanted to try bread, but have always been scared too! I am not much of a baker!

  2. Mmm, that chocolate torte looks yummy. And I like things like that with a nice cuppa too.

    Georgie, our Retriever, would have loved that river. Java and her would have had some fun!

  3. …and yes, they ate ALL their dessert. Tell me how the bread turns out. Have you heard about the woman writer in St. Paul who put built a bread baking oven in her yard…it’s true.

  4. Water makes my dogs insanely happy just like Java. If we had a real pool, they’d spend their whole lives in it!

    Having a dog goofball in the house is good for the soul!

  5. Looks to me like you are busy and productive…a very good sign that you are moving on. Good for you.
    How did the bread turn out?

  6. My May 11th post shows the finished bread. Very small loaf as the idea is to make fresh bread every few days. Now that I’m on my own, that could be tricky. I’ll have to bring some to work to share.

    I’m so thankful that I have Java. With all that energy bursting at the seams and her joyful, live for the moment outlook, you can’t stay down for too long. She is definitely good for the soul.

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